Thursday, April 12, 2018

Not Everyone Is Going To Understand The Decisions You Make. That's Okay.

Towards the end of last year, we made the decision not to renew our license to sell our Bodacious Biscuit Love Peanut Butter Dog Treats. You can read about that here. The papers to renew our license from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture arrived in the mail the first week of December as always. I hung onto the papers for a week before throwing them away. It was a tough decision, but necessary.

People's response to this decision was all over the charts. Some were upset. Others disappointed. A few took it personally.  Most were exceptionally grateful I had posted the recipe over a year ago for these treats. A handful no longer speaks to me.

We weathered the storm and eventually, the dust settled. Since then, and especially after completing the last 6-week project for a client in February, I've been in my face forward, onward march mode. There have been several obstacles and challenges, but for the most part, I'm trudging through.

Throughout the entire time between making the final decision and weathering people's responses, I was reminded of a valuable lesson that we learned many years ago.

Not everyone is going to understand the decisions you make, but you know what? That's okay.

Too often, people make decisions to please the masses. Whether it's friends and family or coworkers and group members, our first instinct is to avoid disappointing or inconveniencing others.

However, by gravitating towards the habit of pleasing the masses, we stretch ourselves too thin. What transpires from that over time is rarely a good thing.

What I've learned over the years is that you have to be comfortable with making decisions for yourself and your household regardless of how others may respond to those decisions.

For example, when we adopted Coco, most of our friends and family thought our decision was wonderful. When Sophie joined our family about 2 years later, there was a mixed response.

In 2015, we adopted Lobo. That's when the scales tipped towards more people not understanding our decision and being quite expressive about how they felt. Most of these reactions stemmed from Lobo being special needs. He only has 1 hind leg. His remaining hind leg has limited mobility.

Then, November of 2016, we became Guinea Pig Moms to our sweet Olivia.

Last March, we adopted Willa. At that point, less than a handful approved of our decision.

From the moment we adopted Coco to the weeks following Willa joining our family, we had to deal with an array of snarky comments, criticisms, and friends and family asking, "Why on earth would you want FOUR dogs? That's too many."

We let all of it roll down our backs. 

In addition to increasing the size of our family, we've also made a myriad of decisions that haven't made others too happy.

And again, that's okay.

Years ago, Lisa and I got to the point of being comfortable with making decisions that are best for us and our family. A good portion of that comfortability is realizing our decisions may not be understood or meet the approval of others.

Transitioning from making decisions to please the masses and where we are at now is a process. It's not easy. Occasionally, we fall off the wagon. You live. You learn. Nothing in life is ever completely fine-tuned to the point of perfection.

In the years ahead, I'm sure we'll still be experiencing the scrapes and bruises from stumbling off the wagon from time to time.

At the end of the day...

Weathering the storms of making decisions that may not be understood or accepted by others is nothing in comparison to the positive effects that follow making those decisions. Whether big or small, those decisions are our decisions.

Another thing we've learned, there will always be critics.

In January of 2012, when Lisa proposed to me, we set our wedding date to July of that year. We both stood up to the critics. It was our wedding. Our day. We stood our ground. If people didn't want to attend, so be it.

In July of 2012, when we made the decision to rent instead of buy, again, the critics were banging on our door.

I've already explained the critics who weren't shy about expressing their disapproval as our family got bigger.

In 2014, when the old owner of this 2 family house decided to sell, we started looking at homes to buy. That came to a halt about 5 months later when I had a chance to meet the woman who was interested in buying this home. After our second meeting, I called Lisa and said, "Let's stay. It's all good."  Almost 3 years later, the owner of this home and her daughter, who live upstairs, is family to us.

Once in a blue moon, usually on weekends, Lisa and I put the world on mute. This is equivalent to putting a Do Not Disturb sign on our doors. No, we don't sneak off for a weekend getaway. Instead, we focus entirely on us. Our family. Our home. We have a date night at home. Lots of extra family snuggle TV time. Extra playtime.

We may take a few hours one day to escape the confines of our home together. 

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

We make them every single day.

I'm not sure if it's an "age" thing or a "you live or learn" thing. Or, maybe a combination of both. Regardless, before making decisions, take a step back.

Think them through.

Are you making decisions to please the masses or making decisions that are best for you and your family?

Take a few steps back. Look in. Exhale.

Start by making one decision that's best for you and your household family.

Then another.

And another...

You've got this.

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